As the sun set it was replaced by an amaranthine of city lights, brightest in the blocks surrounding us, and gradually dwindling in every direction. We'd finished the tapas and every last crumb of the warm bread. The sangria pitcher had been replenished and replenished again, making my skin warm and my limbs light. The patio was busy. Around us various other tables had been resat with new groups. My legs felt sticky with hours of immobility and were deeply ingrained with the winding brass patterns of the chair.
We made an agreement to not discuss anything work related, which Lindy believed would dodge the pending stress I'd conjured. Faking stress was consequently the perfect device to avoid being trapped in my lie.
"Let's not even talk about it," she said, "No work talk on sister night."
Instead, we spent the momentous hours rekindling our parallel sense of humor. We laughed mostly about embarrassing childhood stories. Some were outlandish, and we lowered our voices less and less as the hours progressed. Our choice phrases bounced between the patio walls and Lindy, who was at first somewhat restrained by her civil nature, seemed quite uninhibited as the sangria settled. I had never really seen that side of her. It was like she was suddenly a real person, according to my definition at least.
We made a joint decision to settle the bill and move on to bigger and louder establishments. We both hugged the waiter when we left, who laughed kindly at our antics.
The streets were further intoxicating. A humid fog lingered around stories above us like hovering smoke, and we walked arm and arm down the block, embracing the city and whatever impromptu acts we'd commit. On a bright street, comparably uglier than most, red velvet ropes separated dark vibrating walls from early crowds trickling inside.
"Here?" said Lindy, pointing to one of the quieter basement bars. The bouncer was smiling.
"Sure. He's friendly."
We went downstairs and the horseshoe shaped bar was adorned with a few unattractive lesbian couples, some seething old grease balls, and a young boisterous group taking shots. Mirrors were everywhere, and the portly DJ seemed genuinely proud of his artistry.
"I'm so glad I'm here," said Lindy, who was smiling as though she couldn't stop.
"In this bar?"
"No, just with you!" she said, "I never see you." She hugged me. I felt a little guilty because I hadn't really wanted her there in the first place.
"Well we should talk more," I said. And that I meant.
"We will...Let's take shots!" The words were oxymoronic out of her clean and smart face.
The grease balls near us had been watching us over their glasses the whole time we'd been there. One of them, balding, and in dim light to a drunk mind still greasy, positioned himself in our direction on his stool.
"Ladies.... Interested in taking some shots?" he said. He had large facial features and lips that grossed me out. They were too big or too red, too something... They were on his face and he was using them to hit on my sister. They were sick.
"Yes!" said Lindy.
He ordered some. They were bomb something or others, and drinking it was an act which commenced a dizzying slope which would not subside until the following morning.
The bar filled with groups like a sinking boat with water. Soon it was too crowded to move freely and the mass of uncategorizable sorts became faceless blobs as my binge persisted. Lindy had stopped drinking after the bomb from the grease balls. She climbed towards sobriety while in the meantime I plummeted into black. She sat still while I flitted around the bar witlessly.
"You almost ready to go home Laur?" she said. I was talking to one of the grease balls. I wasn't ready to go, and was actually quite set on the idea that we weren't going home anytime soon.
Another half hour of watching me oaf around with the seething brutes depleted Lindy's patience, and she led me up to the street, somewhat forcefully. I was stumbling around and bitter now, about nothing but nonsense, but in my muddled mind it was monumental. I didn't have to say anything. It was palpable how groundlessly pissed I was.
"And why exactly are you mad at me?" asked Lindy, while we stood by the street waiting for a cab.
"Because this is just so like you."
"I knew this was going to happen."
"You knew you were going to be a bitch tonight?" I said. It catapulted a garrulous street fight, composed of verbal garbage. We forgot about wanting a cab and found ourselves lost in the upturned muck.
"You know, I just realized.. you're not a good person. you're ridiculous," she said. Her voice had remained relatively calm throughout.
"You don't know anything about me!"
"I know probably as much as you know about yourself."
"What do you want me to do?"
She said nothing.
It began to sprinkle and the silence indicated that the heated moment between us had passed. With the same unpredictability that brought on a torrent of anger in me, brought on sudden guilt. I began apologizing for the things I'd said.
"What can I do to make it up to you? I want this to be a good night still."
"Let's just go home and go to bed. We'll talk about it tomorrow." It was more reconciliation than I deserved, but my illogicality of the moment caused me to be even more difficult.
Amongst the passing cars and cabs, an excursion limousine approached us. It was halted in traffic and I went into the street and jumped on the hood. The limo driver got out.
"How much for a ride in the city and then back to my apartment uptown?"
"$100 for a half hour."
"Lindy get in." I opened the door for her.
She was reluctant. The traffic honked angrily at us while we debated, and eventually she got in.
It looked bigger inside than I had anticipated, and we sat in the back on a creme leather seat. There was a display of multicolored lights on the mirrored ceiling and a touch screen stereo behind the drivers' tinted divider. A bar in the middle of the limo was fully stocked with beer, soda, and mini flasks of vodka and scotch. I turned up the radio and opened a flask.
"Let's have a drink."
"I'm done drinking." said Lindy. She sat in the seat with her arms crossed.
"Why can't you get over it? I just got us a limo..."
It was evident that she wasn't over the street fight, but I was. Her demeanor was irritating, and again, just as fast as anger turned into guilt, guilt turned back into anger. We drove around the city for about ten silent minutes. She looked out the window at the passing sky scrapers and the nearly empty blocks beneath them. I watched her. I took gulps from the flask.
'She should just get over it... She's just sitting there...We're in a limousine, why can't she just relax? She won't even look at me... This is fucking ridiculous. I don't even want her to be in here anymore. She can't be in here anymore...'
"If you're just going to ignore me I don't even want you to be here," I said.
"Fine. I'll leave."
"No seriously. Get the fuck out if you're going to act like this."
"Are you kidding me?"
I tapped on the divided to the driver.
"Hey, pull over. She's getting out."
He didn't stop.
"I'm the one paying you. Pull over!"
The limo stopped. We were on Lakeshore Drive by Grant Park, miles south of my apartment. Miles south of Sam's. I got out and opened the door. Lindy was screaming indiscernible things at me. Indiscernible because I wasn't listening at all. I got back into the limo and locked the door. We drove away and I could see her standing on the side of the road. It didn't matter to me. I didn't care. I was so angry with her at that moment and nothing could convince me otherwise.
I told the limo driver to go to a building about a quarter mile north of my apartment. He stopped in front of a neighborhood of homes, homes that seemed to have actual residents instead of renters. He stepped out of his door to open mine. Right as he stepped out, I ran out of the limo from the opposite side.
I didn't have $100 with me. I hadn't thought of an actual plan to pay him. He screamed at me as I ran away, and I zigzagged down blocks to lose him. I could hear his tires screech as he jumped in the limo to chase me. I went in the ally of El Ranchero Taco, and climbed behind the fence and waited for silence.
Finally I crept to the front of the building and went inside. The apartment was dark and empty, and I could tell from the state of things that Cait wasn't home. I laid down in empty corner.
The carpet was rough and my mind spun when I closed my eyes.
I remembered a time when things were simple between Lindy and I. We were sitting in the back seat outside of a grocery store in our school uniforms. Our parents were shopping inside and the time alone in the car felt like eternal freedom. We had the windows down and we screamed riotously at people in the parking lot.
"You're ugly!" I'd scream. Lindy laughed.
"I just farted!" She yelled. The people in the parking lot would get angry. Some wouldn't respond at all. We feared and hoped for their reactions. It was the most outrageous thing we could imagine getting away with at the time. Nothing could have been funnier. Nothing could have felt more rebellious.